Service and Citizenship
Points out that military service should be understood as part of citizenship and that training in the everyday duties of citizenship is a part of the preparation for military service.
Ken Smith sez: This film is #3 in the Are You Ready For Service? series, Coronet's profit-minded contribution to the Korean War. It's scripted around a letter teenaged "Howie" receives from his older brother "Bill." Howie is intrigued by the "snappy uniforms" he sees on the Korea-bound troops, and thinks he might like to join the fun. But Bill, who's in for the duration, writes Howie that he would better serve his country by staying in school and earning his diploma (and THEN enlisting; high school grads make more useful soldiers). "What good is defending a way of life tomorrow if we forget to practice that way of life today?"
Getting a good education is the best way Howie can display his "citizenship," Bill explains, since citizenship is "the earning of rights by fulfilling responsibilities." And what are those responsibilities? Bill defines them as "the democratic process," "teamwork," and "obedience to rules." "Why do you think I'm here?" he asks rhetorically. "Why do you think we're giving all we've got?" Answer: We're going to Korea "to defend our way of life. It's as simple as that."
Whether you agree with Bill or not, the twin lessons taught in this production make one thing clear -- that guidance films and oversimplified wartime propaganda are cut from the same cloth.
Spectators watching parade. Boys put hand across hearts as flag passes.
Serviceman writes letter at desk. CU of pen writing letter. He underlines the words "right now"
GI's in basic training.
Troops salute waving American flag.
High school students in class at blackboard.
Boys play basketball in front of school. Boy makes basket. Good shots.
Man in suit talks at camera.
Subject: Larry is ready for service AND marriage!
Be sure to stick around after the credits for the very odd ending, where a business suit type explains to us again (with a "taped" example of why it's oh so important to be in the service).